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Gael Force act as Technical Advisor on Clahane Wind Farm Sale

18th January 2018

The London Stock Exchange has announced that The Renewable Infrastructure Group (TRIG) has completed the acquisition of a 41.2MW operational wind farm (“Clahane 1”) and its 13.8MW extension which is currently under construction (“Clahane extension”) (together “the Project” or “Clahane wind farm”).

The Project is located in County Kerry in the Republic of Ireland. Clahane 1 was commissioned in 2008 and is comprised of 20 Enercon E70 turbines. The Clahane extension includes a further six Enercon E70 turbines and is due to become fully operational in the third quarter of 2018. The Project benefits from 15-year upward-only, inflation-linked Feed-in Tariff revenues, with six years remaining on Clahane 1.

The total consideration for the Project is approximately €72 million which includes construction spending to the turbine manufacturer, together with an element of deferred consideration to the vendor contingent on the completion of certain critical construction milestones for the Clahane extension. TRIG’s investment has been financed using its revolving acquisition facility. The Project has been acquired from a consortium of private investors and has no third-party project debt.

The Vendor Advisors on the sale were KPMG (Corporate Finance), Beauchamps (Legals) and Gael Force Wind Energy (Technical).

I-SEM: Good news for Wind Energy Generators and their Intermediaries

20th April 2017

With over 100 approved Intermediary arrangements currently established under the Irish wholesale electricity market (the Single Electricity Market, or SEM), there has been some expectation regarding the changes to these agreements that the new I-SEM (Integrated Single Energy Market) may introduce.

Although existing intermediaries will be required to take steps to transfer the registration of their Generators from SEM into I-SEM, the good news is that the SEM Regulators Authority has decided to maintain the intermediary arrangements in I-SEM. You will find the complete Decision Paper from the SEM committee here.

Both this recent decision and the extension of the I-SEM go-live date have been welcome announcements in an uncertain future for the Irish electricity market.

Uncertainty continues over delays on the update of Wind Farm Guidelines

14th April 2017

The Government has confirmed that the update to the Wind Farm Guidelines will be delayed once again, until the end of the year. Late last year, the Government already deferred the decision as a European Court ruling imposed a process of public consultation before the guidelines are issued.

The update to the 2006 Guidelines is controversial by nature, as it requires a revision of the lay down rules on how far wind turbines should be set back from residential dwellings, on noise aspects, as well as light and shadow “flicker” from the rotating blades. In this sense, residents currently feel unprotected as no minimum distance is set, and developers feel that the application of disproportionate measures will be in detriment of the development of Wind Energy in Ireland. IWEA’s call in the matter is for international standards to be applied and they propose to continue applying the 500m advisory distance.

This new delay creates more uncertainty for the sector. Even though Wind Turbines are not a risk to human health, annoyance associated with living near wind turbines is a complex phenomenon. However, these can often be mitigated. Clarity and an open dialogue between developers and the worried residents should be established, as well as leadership from the Government on the matter, to avoid further delays and continue developing the Wind Energy sector at a crucial time when the EU fines for not meeting the 2020 targets are looming over us.

Data centre giant Google to reduce carbon footprint to zero by 2017

13th December 2016

Data centres have been front and centre in the last few years in Ireland, due to prospective jobs, economic growth, and an increase in the use of Ireland as a tech hub. Now with international giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Apple driving a stake in Irish soil, Ireland has become a hotbed for data centres. A supplementary benefit of data centres is their constant 24-7 energy requirements, which provide a constant base load for electricity network operators. This helps the future development of a secure grid and ultimately facilitate integration of a mixed generation system that includes renewables.

As a company requiring very large amounts of energy to power their data centres, Google started in 2009 studying the best way to use and buy renewable energy to play their part in tackling climate change. This has posed a challenge in the US, since Google couldn’t buy clean energy from local utilities because of regional and regulatory restrictions. They considered developing their own renewable projects at their data centre facilities but the projects were not viable due to physical and geographical restrictions. As a solution, they decided to buy renewable power directly from developers on the same grids where they operate using Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). These PPAs provided all the necessary renewable energy certificates (RECs) to match their consumption when buying local power from conventional sources of power. More on how Google does this can be found here. The Irish market has seen similar initiatives by private corporations where Apple has already had a PPA tender process for its planned Irish data center, which marks a change in the dynamics of how the Irish electricity market is going to be used in the future.
Google-solar-power
Seven years on from their first look at renewables, Google is proud to announce that they will be able to purchase enough renewable energy to match 100% of their operations by 2017. Other large corporations, such as Ikea and SAP, are also choosing renewables for business sustainability, as the price of clean energy drops.

 

REFIT clarification letter provides comfort for upcoming deadline

28th November 2015

The Dept. of Communications Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) have recently released a clarification letter prior to the 31st of December 2015 deadline for REFIT 2 applications. The letter outlines how the DCENR will handle applications that do not have a copy of full planning permission and/or a grid connection offer or agreement by the deadline. The letter can be found at the following link:

http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/energy/SiteCollectionDocuments/Renewable-Energy/Clarification%20Document.pdf

Earth.nullschool.net – Interactive Global Wind Flow Map

2nd January 2014

A Tokyo based software engineer, Cameron Beccario, has created an online interactive global wind flow map, that offers a fresh and artistic view of actual global wind flow data.

Based on a US wind map designed by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, the online tool offers current and historical images of wind flows all over the earth. The wind speed data is taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Weather Service and streams it into an animated view of the globe. The map updates every three hours, showing near-current weather patterns worldwide where you can spin the map like a globe, zoom in on a particular region or view wind flows at different altitudes above the earth’s surface.

Below is a snapshot of Ireland during a storm on the 27th of December 2013 that cut electricity power supplies to over 65,000 people as well as causing substantial damage and flooding throughout Ireland and the UK.

Eurelectric – Power Distribution in Europe – Facts and Figures

9th December 2013

Eurelectric, the sector association which represents the common interests of the electricity industry at pan-European level, has recently published an information brochure on Power Distribution in Europe.

The brochure gives great insight into Distribution System Operators in each of the EU countries and reveals some interesting facts and figures from different points of view regarding DSOs in each country.

ESB and Eirgrid Resources – Electricity network maps

12th November 2013

Both the Irish Distribution System Operator (ESB Networks) and Transmission System Operator (Eirgrid) provide online mapping resources of the electricity network in Ireland. Both these resources offer a great level of detail and information to the general public and also people with business interests in the electricity infrastructure of Ireland.

The ESB interactive network maps ( give an overview of both Medium and High Voltage networks with background mapping to give an indication of stations and line routes for 10kV, 20kV, 38kV and upwards.

NOTE: As of November 2015, the ESB Networks mapping links are not working. We suggest contacting ESB Networks directly for any further information or queries.

 


Eirgrid’s Transmission System Information section of their website offers an All-Island Transmission Map in pdf format which gives stations and line routes from 110kV upwards to 400kV.

 

Treatment of Curtailment in Tie-Break Situations

1st March 2013

Today, the 1st of March 2013, the Single Electricity Market (SEM) Committee has published its decision paper on the Treatment of Curtailment in Tie-break Situations (Reference: SEM-13-010). This paper outlines the SEM Committee decision following a period of consultation on the proposed decision paper (Reference: SEM-12-090) and consideration of the responses to same.

In summary, the SEM Committee has made the following decisions in respect of the treatment of curtailment in tie-break situations in the SEM:

  • Pro rata treatment of all windfarms in dispatch (firm and non-firm) for the purpose of curtailment;
  • On the market side, a cessation of Dispatch and Balancing Cost (DBC) payments for curtailment in tie-break situations by start of 2018 (1 January 2018);
  • The Transmission System Operators and Single Electricity Market Operator (TSOs/SEMO) will be tasked with implementing this mechanism through the relevant market system, codes and dispatch system changes.

 

Responses received to SEM-12-090 are published alongside this paper. The paper and responses can be viewed here on the All Island Project website. The Committee also published the TSO ‘Definition of Curtailment and Constraint’ setting out the methodology for distinguishing between events of constraints and curtailment (SEM-13-011).

It should be noted that this decision paper does not align with the opinions of the majority of respondents, which include private developers, state owned developers, international developers and associations.

Furthermore, at a Meitheal na Gaoithe conference in 2012, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) highlighted that there may be need to incentivise TSOs to minimise curtailment and constraint. This was also raised by respondents to the paper. However, this valid point was only acknowledged with no actions implemented which may create regulatory uncertainty around the levels of curtailments and constraints that are coming down the road…

Proposed Treatment of Wind Farms in Tie-Breaks – SEM-12-090

30th October 2012

On the 3rd of October 2012, the Single Electricity Market (SEM) Committee published a proposed decision on the treatment of curtailment in tie-break situations (SEM-12-090). Two other documents were published alongside SEM-12-090. They were a Transmission System Operator (TSO) report examining the effect of three options outlined in SEM-12-028 on Dispatch Balancing Costs and wind curtailment and a TSO annex setting out the proposed methodology for distinguishing between events of constraints and curtailment.

The extended deadline for receipt of responses to these publications is close of business Monday the 19th of November 2012.

Summary of Proposed Decision

The Proposed Decision of the SEM-12-090 document is Pro-rata dispatch with defined curtailment limit.

This option involves the pro-rata treatment for curtailment of all operational windfarms in dispatch and the imposition of a cap / threshold for the payment of Dispatch Balancing Costs (DBC) compensation for curtailment. It is the SEM Committee’s intention that by 2020, there would no longer be DBC compensation available for curtailment of wind.

The features of this option are as follows:

On the dispatch side curtailment for all operational windfarms will be treated on a pro-rata basis, i.e. all operational windfarms (firm and non-firm) will be turned down on an equal basis by the TSO in a curtailment situation. On the market side, as per current rules, firm projects will be paid market revenues through DBC when curtailed. However this full compensation of curtailment for firm and partially firm generators (0.1% to 99.9%) will only continue up to a fixed point – at the absolute latest this will be the 1 January 2016.